GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Chicago Bears knocked out Aaron Rodgers and moved into a first-place tie in the NFC North by beating the Green Bay Packers 27-20 at Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Rodgers hurt his left collarbone when sacked by defensive end Shea McClellin on the Packers' opening possession. Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and moved to his right, with McClellin getting off right tackle Don Barclay's block. Rodgers hit the turf hard, landing on his left (non-throwing) shoulder as McClellin and cornerback Isaiah Frey took him down.
A Chicago radio reporter said sources told him Rodgers broken his collarbone.
Without Rodgers and Chicago quarterback Jay Culter, who sat out due to a groin injury, the game became a battle of journeymen backup quarterbacks. Seneca Wallace, 33, replaced Rodgers, and Josh McCown, 34, got the start in place of Cutler.
McCown completed 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Wallace finished 11-for-19 for 114 yards with one interception.
Chicago, which entered the night with six consecutive losses in the series, joins Green Bay and the Detroit Lions atop the NFC North. All three are 5-3.
The Bears scored the game's final 14 points.
Chicago recaptured the lead, 24-20, on a drive set up by Devin Hester's 23-yard punt return. On second-and-goal at the 6, McCown threw a jump ball to receiver Alshon Jeffery, who used his size and strong hands to prevent cornerback Davon House from ripping away the ball in the end zone with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Chicago then turned to its defense, which entered the night ranked 29th in scoring and on pace to allow the most points in franchise history. The Packers' ensuing possession crossed midfield but stalled when Julius Peppers deflected a third-and-5 pass. Green Bay's next possession reached the Bears' 40 with a third-and-3 but McClellin tripped up Wallace for a sack.
Bears coach Marc Trestman made a gutsy decision midway through the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-inches from his 32, he called a timeout and kept his offense on the field. Running back Matt Forte (24 carries, 125 yards) gained 3, but only because lead-blocking fullback Tony Fiammetta stopped, took a step back and blocked A.J. Hawk, who was in position to make the tackle in the backfield.
When McCown hit Brandon Marshall (seven catches, 107 yards) for 11 on third-and-6, it allowed the Bears to burn even more clock. Then, after the two-minute warning, Forte converted a third-and-3 with an 8-yard run. Robbie Gould's 27-yard field goal capped a killer 18-play drive that consumed 8:58 and pushed the advantage to 27-20 with 50 seconds left.
Sacks by Corey Wootton and McClellin ended the game.
Facing a 17-10 halftime deficit, the Packers stormed out of the tunnel to start the third quarter. After Green Bay forced a three-and-out punt, running back Eddie Lacy (22 carries, 150 yards) rumbled for 56 yards to the 1 and punched it on the next play. Coach Mike McCarthy dialed up a surprise onside kick, with linebacker Jamari Lattimore recovering to give the Packers another possession. That drive bogged down at the Bears' 5, but Mason Crosby's 23-yard field goal gave the Packers a 20-17 lead.
With McCown outplaying Wallace, the Bears led 17-10 at halftime.
McCown made a brilliant play to give the Bears a 7-3 lead on Chicago's first possession. On third-and-6, he shrugged off a potential sack by defensive end Mike Neal and heaved the ball to Marshall, who made a leaping, twisting catch in the end zone while being interfered with by cornerback Tramon Williams.
Green Bay turned to Lacy, with the hard-charging rookie moving the ball into Chicago territory, but Peppers battled a Wallace pass and made the interception, looking very much the former North Carolina basketball star in grabbing his ninth career pick. His 14-yard return set up the Bears at Green Bay's 45, but the Packers got a stop, and Lattimore blocked Adam Podlesh's punt.
It was a huge early momentum swing, with running back James Starks' 32-yard touchdown run on the next play giving Green Bay a 10-7 lead with 3:38 to play in the first quarter.
The momentum was short-lived, though. A 33-yard catch-and-run by Forte, sprung by Marshall's block, and a 27-yard catch-and-run by tight end Martellus Bennett set up Forte's easy 1-yard touchdown. That gave Chicago a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter. Moments later, the Packers announced Rodgers was out for the rest of the game.
Wallace's 6-15 career record as a starter includes an 0-3 mark when he last played in 2011.
NOTES: The Bears' inactives included Cutler and OLB Lance Briggs (shoulder). Chicago began the night 2-6 without Cutler since 2009, including 0-1 last season and a five-game losing streak in 2011. ... The Packers were without their starting outside linebackers for the third consecutive game. Clay Matthews, who missed his fourth consecutive game, had the pins removed from his broken thumb Monday. He hopes to play against the Philadelphia Eagles next week. Also inactive for the Packers were OLB Nick Perry (foot) and TE Jermichael Finley (neck). ... Green Bay lost another outside linebacker, Andy Mulumba, to an ankle injury in the second quarter. That left them with just Neal and sixth-round rookie Nate Palmer at the position. ... Green Bay entered the game with a six-game winning streak against Chicago, an 11-game home winning streak against NFC North foes and a 17-game home winning streak in regular-season games played on Nov. 1 or later in the year. ... The Bears improved to 6-5 in the teams' matchups on "Monday Night Football."
Scroll to continue with content